Isn’t Physical Therapy Just Exercise?
This is a common misconception. The fact is, physical therapy is a process that allows for you to regain movement and control over your body. It’s not the same as just doing a set of exercises. The first step always involves creating a step-by-step plan that’s right for your individual needs. We’ll then work closely with you to monitor your progress and watch you improve. The goal is to progressively and safely improve your mobility, flexibility, range of motion, and endurance. Everyone’s needs are very different and how you progress will depend on many factors. In fact, physical therapy itself is quite complex providing us with numerous treatment options for your individual needs.
When Should You See a Physical Therapist?
If you’ve been hurt and suffered from limitations to your mobility or overall endurance, schedule an appointment with our physical therapist in New York. Let us talk to you about your needs. You should see a physical therapist no matter if you have pain or not and no matter if you are struggling with severe or minor changes in your overall function. Many people see a significant improvement they didn’t think or know they could achieve.
Physical therapy (PT) is functional rehabilitation. The therapies Dr. Jose Colon, MD, and his staff recommends to your physical therapist at Rehabilitation Medicine Center of New York help relieve symptoms, such as shoulder pain, back inflammation, joint stiffness, and other causes of pain. PT offers many benefits, including increasing your body’s flexibility, range of motion, strength, and endurance. Furthermore, you learn about biomechanics—how to protect your body. Physical therapy offers you the opportunity to improve your functional abilities and quality of life.
Our doctors and your physical therapist work together to make sure your individualized PT program starts you at a comfortable level. As you progress, aspects of your therapy change to meet and challenge your improving levels of function. We want to make sure you acquire a level of physical ability and fitness to go about your activities of daily living, such as full- or part-time work.
Passive therapies do not require your participation and include cold, moist heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and manual therapy. Passive therapies help ready your body for active therapy.
- Cold therapy reduces circulation of blood and helps decrease inflammation and pain.
- Moist heat therapy increases blood circulation; essential to cellular nutrition, waste removal and healing. Heat relaxes stiff, sore muscles.
- Electrical stimulation or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) delivers a mild and painless impulse through your skin to affect specific nerves. Pain is replaced with a tingling sensation. The electric current produces warmth and helps reduce pain and improve range of motion.
- Ultrasound involves applying a gel to a specific skin area. The gel helps transmit ultrasound waves deep into underlying tissue, such as muscles and ligaments. The ultrasound device is a round, smooth probe. The probe is gently swirled over the skin. Heat penetrates below the skin and increases circulation (blood and lymph), relaxes muscle spasms, relieves inflammation, reduces pain, and speeds healing.
- Manual therapy can help release a joint into proper position and improve range of motion. The physical therapist positions you on the treatment table and manually moves a part of your body. Manually means the therapist uses his hands and body strength in a controlled way to affect treatment. Of course, the type and intensity of the movements are dictated by your diagnosis and our medical professionals’ recommendations.
Active therapies are therapeutic exercises that increase flexibility, build strength and endurance.
- Before therapeutic exercise, passive therapy is administered followed by a period of warm-up activities. Warm-up depends on your physical ability and may include walking on a treadmill or stationary cycling. Benefits include:
- Greater flexibility
- Stronger muscles, muscle tone
- Less pain*
- Better balance, coordination
- Improved sleep
- Stimulates your cardiovascular system (heart)
*Activity, such as exercise stimulates your body to release endorphins; your body’s natural pain reliever.
- Aquatic therapy is active exercise in a heated pool. The warm water and anti-gravity environment is less painful for patients.
Your physical therapist teaches you how to apply the principles of biomechanics. You learn how to correct your static posture and make application while walking, standing, getting up from a chair, lifting and carrying objects, and during other movements to prevent pain or re-injury. Our physical therapist can help you apply biomechanics to your work activities too.
Safeguard your body
Everyone at Rehabilitation Medicine Center of New York understands an injury and pain can disrupt every aspect of your life. We are committed to improve your health and well-being. We believe a personalized rehab program with the tools you need to prevent future problems is vital.